In the last Democrat debate, the issue of gun violence in America gained even more steam among the candidates. The left, which has traditionally soft-pedaled the idea of removing any type of firearm from American society, has taken the gloves off at this point. Candidates, such as Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren, are no longer pretending that gun bans and gun confiscations are off the table. The point the voters need to understand is, that short of complete confiscation (which would bring a different set of problems) more gun laws will not change anything.
The primary example of this is the current “Expanded Background Check” bill circulating through Congress. Touted as a gun safety measure aimed at protecting the public, the bill would do little or nothing to change the existing situation with criminals. The concept of universal background checks to purchase a firearm is already in force and consistently applied across the country.
In order to purchase a firearm from any retailer, including at the so-called “gun shows” that Democrats harp on, it is necessary to fill out a Federal Form 4473 and undergo an ATF background check. Instead of targeting illegal use and punishment of criminal firearms use, the new legislation simply makes it much more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, use or pass down firearms. This is an obvious infringement on Second Amendment rights. The sad fact is there is no law that can prevent a previously sane, law-abiding person to snap and decide to use a firearm violently.
Included in the new bill are such provisions as requiring a background check just to lend your rifle to a friend on a hunting trip. It entails background checks for parents who want to pass down their collection to grown children. It proposes background checks simply to purchase ammunition. And, in a most insidious manner, it calls for national Red Flag laws.
Red Flag provisions are worthy of a discussion of their own. What Red Flag laws entail is that anyone with knowledge of another individual in possession of firearms, which they feel has become a danger to themselves or the community, may “flag” that individual to law enforcement. This would allow for law enforcement to confiscate the individual’s firearms, on the basis of hearsay, and place them in a legal situation where they would have to provide proof refuting the accusations against them. The potential for abuse under such laws is obvious.
Red flag laws are patently unconstitutional. They remove the presumption of innocence, allow confiscation of personal property without compensation and violate any semblance of due process. Eight states already have red flag laws in place and they are rightfully being challenged in court in some cases.
We are at a decision point in our thinking as a nation. With numerous laws that already infringe on firearm ownership, with many states moving the concept of possessing the tools for self-defense from a natural right to a state dictated privilege, and now seeing similar national proposals, we have to ask ourselves where we stand.
We must reaffirm that personal defense of life, liberty, and property, which in a modern setting would include gun ownership, is indeed a right. Further, we should demand that abuse of such rights should be punished with consistency. Or we must suffer the dictates of a bureaucratic state if such an idea is deemed a privilege to be granted or removed at will. It certainly cannot be both, and our Constitution sets the example.
With the current lax enforcement of existing gun laws, it is baffling that the public would think additional layers of law and bureaucracy would change anything. And in fact, it would not. At least not for the ill-intended, but it would infringe further on the law-abiding owner. It is antithetical for politicians to accuse voters who would not support more ineffective legislation as “uncaring”.
History is clear and full of instances that support the idea of personal rights as elucidated in our Second Amendment. We should amplify our condemnation, and express our principles with our votes in 2020, toward those who would try to convince us otherwise.